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College Basketball Analyst Jay Bilas Weighs in on Syracuse’s run to the Sweet 16

With less than two days until Syracuse meets Duke in the Sweet 16, everyone has the same question on their mind: can SU get it done? Well, if the last time these teams met is any indication, it’s not likely.

Points. That’s what the Orange needs to beat the Blue Devils. Can they get enough of them? That’s what we’re so excited to find out on Friday.

For an answer to that and more, the Fizz talked with ESPN College Basketball analyst Jay Bilas to preview the matchup.

Orange Fizz: What did you see in the matchup in February that we could see again on Friday?

Jay Bilas: I don’t know that that game will necessarily play into this one. I think Syracuse is going to have a hard time scoring enough points. I don’t think their defense is going to be an issue, I think their defense is very good. Duke’s defense is very good. I think it’s the Syracuse offense that’s going to be an issue… Duke’s going to put some points on the board. I don’t think you’re going to see them do what Michigan State did and shoot thirty percent, or under that, and not be able to capitalize on the number of offensive rebounds they get. Duke’s a really good rebounding team, they’re up there with Michigan State as far as rebounding prowess. In fact, I think they may be a little bit better rebounding team than Michigan State. They’re also way better offensively at attacking the zone of the dribble, and that’s one of the more debilitating things against the zone, is dribble penetration into the gaps of the zone, I think you’ll see Duke do quite a bit of that.

OF: Is SU’s defense and team good enough to continue its run this weekend and maybe even all the way to San Antonio?

JB: Are they good enough? It’s possible, but the answer would be no, they’re not, but it doesn’t stop them from pulling upsets. I didn’t think they were good enough to do it 2016 either, but they did. But they’re going to have to shoot it significantly better than they’ve shot it. Against the teams that are coming up, so Duke, who I think is one of the two best teams in the country, along with Villanova and then what is likely to be, but you don’t know, Kansas, those are formidable teams. Kansas shoots it really well and they’ve got really good guards, so I would favor Duke in the game and, frankly,  I’d favor them by double digits. But, Michigan state is better… you can argue Michigan State should have won… (Syracuse) won by scoring 55 points, that’s pretty impressive. I wouldn’t expect winning scoring 55 points against Duke.

OF: How do you see it playing out on Friday? Who is going to win and by how many points?

JB: I think Duke is a double-digit favorite in the game. I think they’re so much better offensively that it’s going to be hard for the Syracuse defense to hold them down. And Syracuse is not a great offensive team. Syracuse gave up a ton of offensive rebounds against Michigan State… it ultimately didn’t hurt them, at least didn’t kill ‘em. I don’t think they can do that again and hope to win against Duke.

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